The biggest and longest river of tears was in the 8th row of the Kate McGarrigle Tribute at Town Hall on Friday night. I have not gone to hear music alone since Jackson was born. I do everything I can to go with Stephie - but this night Stephie could not make it and I had to see this show. It was sold out. I got a ticket the day of the show on Craigslist. I sat down in the dark to hear these songs that kept me company all those years before I met Stephie.
I had met Kate McGarrigle at the Cornell Folk Festival years and years ago. She was not performing, just hanging out with her then husband, Loudon Wainwright III. Then through the years - as each album with her sister Anna appeared, they would become such a deep part of my life. The songs were the soundtrack of so many days and nights from RISD on. Especially that first album of theirs - which they played almost every song from at Town Hall. I had seen them perform in NY churches and festivals, at the Santa Monica Pier with a teenage Rufus, and then about five years in London. Stephie and I had been at a pub trying to figure out what to do that night. Suddenly we saw in Time Out that the McGarrigles with Rufus and other family were playing just across the river. We raced across the Waterloo Bridge and over to the Box Office at Royal Festival Hall. The ticket seller told us people had been lined up the whole day for the sold out show, which had just started. Then in the same breath he pulled out two seats for us to buy.
Most tributes are sloppy affairs, not well rehearsed, missing something in all the good will. This show was beyond dreams. Each vocal, each arrangement - just got under my skin. From the first note, tears just streamed down my face. From Rufus and Martha Wainwright’s incredible voices cutting into that place that everything is laid bare, to Anna McGarrigle on stage with her eyes closed almost the whole time. From Teddy Thompson (whose first album I love - even if it all about breakup’s) to Antony Hegarty (who sings like the angels dressed up as a lost kid) to Emmylou Harris to Justin Vivian Bond (who I was reading about in NY Mag on the way in) to Krystie Warren (who I had never heard before and is channeling a part of Nina Simone) to this short woman I didn’t recognize at first, but thought....I wonder if she has recorded anything, her voice is really insane. It was Norah Jones.
This morning I woke up at 5AM to the hardest rain. Packed the cameras and went over to the Race for the Cure Event. My friend, Jerry Rotino who owns Food In Summit, had staged a tent full of pink canolli’s and server’s wearing florescent pink wigs. Everyone there was wonderful and full of great energy - yet a deep melancholy hung over the event like low white clouds. Next to the “Pink Honor Roll” tent, there were a series of placards, shaped like grave stones - full of messages of hope and loss. Tears....more tears.
Then tonight - we sat here watching this incredible video from a recent Paul Simon concert. A woman from the audience yelled out for him to play, “Duncan” - because it was the first song she learned to play on guitar. Incredibly, Paul invited her up on stage. Let it flow.